Embracing the twilight years of our pets can be a wonderful time. Just spending time together, pottering about and enjoying the less active individual can be very rewarding in itself. However, as time goes on, it is inevitable that serious health problems occur in our ageing pets. It is important to discuss any changes you have noticed in your pet’s health or behaviour with your vet. They will be able to investigate the problem and provide advice on appropriate methods of treatment. Alternatively, in the case of incurable conditions, to relieve the pet’s symptoms, including discomfort and anxiety.
When the time comes
These days, many problems can be managed successfully for long periods of time. Sadly, there does come a time with every pet, when life comes to an end naturally or the quality of that life reaches a stage when euthanasia may be the kindest option, for everyone concerned.
This is the saddest time of all. We love our pets so much and losing them can be devastating. It is important to give ourselves time to grieve and let go. Vets, veterinary nurses and everyone in the practice team will understand and be sensitive to the emotions of anyone losing a pet. They can help by giving sympathetic advice and support on all aspects of end of life for your beloved pet.
If a pet dies suddenly or the death is not expected, the feelings of anger, denial and guilt can be traumatic. This is natural and again you should talk things over with your vet. Sometimes establishing what happened and why, helps us humans to come to terms with things. Guilt can also be overwhelming if you are making the decision to have your pet put to sleep, for whatever reason.
Do talk to someone about how you're feeling, and remember there are people who specialise in pet bereavement counselling, if you do need additional help.